A Better Transit-Oriented Design

Kent Kammerer asserts that by jumping too quickly on a TOD bandwagon that stresses density, local municipalities may leave out elements of social infrastructure and adequate services--the real driving forces behind successful, walkable areas.

"The image of TOD being sold to legislators, however, resembles a Rick Steves' travelogue. We imagine couples walking down quaint little streets, dining in sidewalk cafes. The smell of fresh baked bread, cheese, and sausage floats in the air. There are faint sounds of violins and laughter.

The reality of TOD development in Seattle will more resemble the Belltown neighborhood, which now has densities similar to the proposed legislation. In Belltown, the woman brave enough to go for a walk in the evening carries a Glock in her purse. The smell floating in the air is vomit spewed in a shop doorway and the lingering aroma of Canadian bud. She walks to the beat of blasting music from night clubs and the occasional pop of...car backfire? Or is it guns?

The imagery of walkable neighborhoods being sold to the public everywhere, not just here, ignores much of the reality of dense development in American cities. Laws can be created that mandate density, but cities cannot require businesses to locate there, especially the kind of businesses the planners hope for."

Full Story: Beware greens pushing Transit-Oriented Development



Same Everywhere

It is interesting to see that "neighborhood coalitions" everywhere have essentially the same goal: fight against densification. I'm convinced that their motivation has little to do with the fearmongering reasons they cite (crime, drugs and vomit in this article, traffic and "neighborhood character" where I live) and is mostly driven by a desire to maintain/inflate their home values by restricting the local housing supply.

Also, "A Better Transit-Oriented Design" is a confusing tag - Kammerer isn't promoting any better design (and doesn't claim to be doing so in the article), he is just arguing that density is bad.

Misleading Tag

I agree that the tag is misleading. This isn't the first time either. See Does LEED Have a Big City Bias.

Please write more precise tags. Stop making neutral POV your goal, and inform us about what the article says. If the article opposes planning orthodoxy, tell us, rather than simply making the tag agree with the article's point. Maybe this seems insignificant to the editors of Planetizen, but it seems to matter to us, your audience.

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